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By Andrea Drever

Content and Editorial Director


Starting May 3, 2023 (unless the deadline is once again extended), all U.S. travelers 18 and older will be required to present a driver’s license or identification card that is REAL ID compliant when passing through airport security.

If you don’t have a compliant ID by that date, you will have to show another acceptable form of identification to fly within the U.S., such as a valid passport, permanent resident card or Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler program card, like Global Entry or Nexus.

So, how do you get this essential new ID?

Each state handles the issuing of driver’s licenses and identification cards independently, so each state has its own REAL ID requirements. The requirements vary slightly from state to state, but typically, the main difference is the documentation you need to provide.

For instance, to get a REAL ID in California, people need to make an appointment at a California Department of Motor Vehicles office, provide an identifying document such as a passport or birth certificate, proof of Social Security number such as a Social Security card or a W-2 form and proof of California residency.

To determine what’s required where you live, a quick online search for your state and “REAL ID” should allow you to find all the necessary info.

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